Crying Nut vs. CNBLUE – The beginning and possible end?

Way back in 2010 indie-idol group CNBLUE performed Indie group Crying Nut’s ‘Offside’ on MNET’s M!Countdown, a performance that would later be featured on the groups DVD released in Japan. This performance has since become quite the hot topic among netizens and critics since. You see this performance alone (without the recording and release that followed) had been a violation of copyright against Crying Nut.

Since this incident first occurred many media outlets have released news of Crying Nut receiving a reimbursement of money following the performance and this was said to cover the issue of both M!Countdown as a show and CNBLUE’s company failing to obtain the legal permission required to perform the song. The CJ E&M licensing team (on behalf of MNET) even released a statement following the payment to proclaim this to the world. However the group has now decided to take out legal action against CNBLUE.

Since this news has been announced, I have read many articles with comments from netizens stating that this ‘nobody group’ have no right to put CNBLUE through all this but they all seem to misunderstand something. Both CNBLUE and their company have been making money since the DVD release both the group and their company have continued to make money, meaning they have also been making money from the song.

Crying Nut has issued an official press release stating:

We already received compensation from the broadcast station because of the wrongful broadcast, DVD reproduction, and DVD distribution. There is nothing else that the broadcast station is responsible for anymore. The problem that’s left is with CNBLUE because they deceived and misled the viewers and the Japanese DVD buyers that Crying Nut’s own AR music was their own live sound. In other words, they have to pay for the actions of stealing our musical property. This is not something Mnet should mediate or cooperate with. We will not be covering this up. We will be taking strict measures.

As a fan of both groups, I have to say that I am less shocked with the actions of a group who I feel have indeed been wronged and are deserving of the money they are owed and more shocked with the fan reaction towards the incident on both sides. Discussions I have read over have featured comments from outraged fans of both with CNBLUE fans claiming that Crying Nut simply want to be in the spotlight for once and Crying Nut fans claiming that CNBLUE should be lucky to have been given the honour to play such a song.

Unlike many claims that this issue is only resurfacing due to CNBLUEs recent comeback and increase in recognition intentionally this has in fact been constantly looked over and discussed since it first occurred. Yes, Crying Nut received some money and an apology but it was still done. There has been profit made from CNBLUE and there company and until recently no form of apology from either the company or group was made for use of the song. I am a fan of both groups but I feel that when such a thing is done it is only right that the legal owners are in some way compensated especially if there is still money being earned from what had caused the initial problem in the first place, which it is.

We need to remember that this song is an important song to Crying Nut as it was the 2002 World Cup team Korea fight song. This is the same year in which, not only did they host the World Cup (alongside Japan) but they also made it to the semi-finals, coming in fourth place. This song gave hope for the championship to a nation during the world cut and put out the name of Crying Nut for a wider audience.

The real question that needs to be asked in this entire situation is why the performance was not removed from the DVD before distribution to begin with and why copies are still being made available with no changes made. If the performance had been pulled and Crying Nut had been accurately compensated to begin with this issue would have stopped before any court cases were brought up and both groups would be continuing to make delightful music in their own ways. My feelings on this are that whatever the outcome I hope that both groups are able to settle this issue out of court in a manner that will not affect either in the future.

Hopefully the recent apology made by CNBLUE & FNC Entertainment on their website can help to calm some of the tension. The statement reads as follows:

“The controversial broadcast material was released in the DVD without our knowledge, and we couldn’t catch on and respond to the distribution process beforehand. We are also regretful of how this issue arose today. On behalf of the members, we sincerely send our apology to sunbaes Crying Nut for the trouble inflicted upon them through this chain of events. We have a deep understanding of the problem raised and we promise that we will work hard to prevent these things from happening in the future. However, regarding the DVD as according to the news releases of various media outlets and broadcasters, we will say once again that we did not participate in its commercial release. We express our deep regret at the recently surfaced controversy involving CNBLUE. This will serve as a learning experience and we will do our best to prevent another incident like this from happening. We will do our best to create a smooth reconciliation concerning this issue.”

Maybe after all of this CNBLUE will actually be able to perform their own music (which is much more popular with fans) rather than the songs picked out by FNC and international fans will realise that Crying Nut are a talented and well respected group in Korea who have simply felt wronged. Only the future can tell what will happen.

 

UPDATE:

Just a few short days after CNBLUEs statement was released Crying Nut responded with a statement released via their official website. The group starts by explaining that they do not wish to cause any harm to the careers of CNBLUE nor do they have any hard feelings towards them as a group, and goes on to explain that they simply hope that the issue of copyright misuse is sorted in the appropriate way. You can read the full statement here.

It also seems that this issue has struck a chord with other artists as Rocker Kim Kyungho has stepped out to give an outsiders point of view with a difference. He has not passed judgement on with CNBLUE or Crying Nut but simply asked them as fellow musicians to work through the issue; stating that CNBLUE should apologise and Crying Nut should ‘show some mercy towards their dongsengs’. The full statement can be found here.

With all these sudden changes and now comments on the issue from other artists the question of whether this situation has become bigger than CNBLUE and Crying Nut must now be asked. Also if this is incident is being reopened and discussed how many more will this year?

Sources: Crying Nut Statement – My Daily, CNBLUE Statement – Mnet , Netizen Buzz , eNewsWorld

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Sasha

Co-founder and Editor at Beyond Hallyu
Lover of Korean hip-hop and indie music...and Unicorns.
  • CJux

    From what I understood, the DVD was released by Mnet, not FNC. Fans insist FNC is not making a profit out of it, and if that’s true, then Crying Nut’s case makes no sense.

    Furthermore, they already received compensation for the DVD distribution, so I fail to see the problem here. I would completely support them if they wanted Mnet to remove the DVD from the stores and re-release it without the offending material (or at least with the proper credits), but they have said nothing about that. The only thing they said is that they wanted monetary compensation from CNBLUE too, to “be deposited to our legal firm to be donated for the copyrights in order to help grow the indie scene.” I seriously laughed at this part.

    No, I’m not a CNBLUE fan. They have yet to release a full album where most of their songs are written, composed and arranged by them without the help of FNC’s in-house musicians for me to respect them as creative musicians. And when it comes to music, Crying Nut is far superior in my opinion.

    But I’m also a rock music consumer, and I’ve seen stupid copyrights legal complaints being thrown around countless of times, that often have no basis. Even the Ynot case sounded idiotic to me (do they even know what it takes for a song to be considered plagiarism?). Once again, this whole case smells like it’s being manipulated by some scheming lawyer wanting to make some quick money, by taking advantage of Crying Nut’s frustrations. It wouldn’t be the first time this happens.

  • lexi

    Are you sure you did your research on this? FNC/CNBLUE made no profit from that DVD because it was MNET who released that, not FNC. In fact, when that DVD came out a few years ago, FNC issued notice to fans not to buy the DVD because they have nothing to do with it. That DVD by the way is a compilation of performances in MNET, not CNBLUE DVD.